Preserving History: An Update On The IMS Photo Digitization Project

Published On February 3, 2014 » 2982 Views» By Mary Ellen Loscar » Blogs, IMS Photo Digitization Project, Photography

The IMS Photo Digitization Project is a partnership between Indiana University Libraries and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to preserve historically significant photographs for the enjoyment of future generations. On a basic level, the labor-intensive project involves scanning decomposing images and adding them to a digital archive. Tagging each image with Metadata allows the IMS photo staff to quickly locate specific images for promotional and editorial use– as well for personal enjoyment by fans.

The partnership between IMS and Indiana University Libraries began in December 2010. Since then 15,935 images have been scanned! You can search by year or such highlights as ‘checkered flags’, ‘starts’ and ‘Victory Circle’. Our latest effort has been to add audio clips of each race. They have recorded clips from 1911 – 1959. The clips are narrated by Donald Davidson.

1958-14179-Speedway-crowds-after-race-heading-towards-main-gate-the-day-after-the-race

Crowds head toward the main gate after the 1958 Indianapolis 500

To date we have scanned all black and white qualification shots from 1911 through 1969. Color qualification shots from 1946 through 1960 are done as well. You can come to the Hall of Fame Museum and view the entire collection of black and white photos from the years 1958, 1961, and 1963. We are scanning new images every day and some of them may never have been seen before.

You can view the photo collection and listen to the audio clips on the University Library website: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Collection | IUPUI University Library

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About The Author


My name is Mary Ellen Loscar and I am the Photo Operations Manager. Although I do not take photos, I assist those who use our images for promotion, editorial, sponsorship and personal enjoyment. The IMS photo department has an archive of 4 million plus images dating back to 1909 and our staff is in the process of scanning these images to preserve them in a digital format with trackable metadata. I enjoy the historical images and the story they tell about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and am excited to share the digitalization project with you.

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